Illinois...trying again.....

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by Warner, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Warner

    Warner Member

    Due to the confusing and often contradictory information I've found about Illinois laws, I just submitted the following message on the cyberdrive Illinois website:

    "How do I register a moped and what type of license plate is required? It's a 43cc engine. I've searched and read everything that I could find on this site and in the rules of the road and the laws are confusing and contradictory at times. Please help!

    Thanks much,

    Warner Smith

    My "vehicle" does fit the following requirements as specified in the Rules of the Road booklet:

    "The following four criteria must be met in order to be considered a moped; otherwise it is a motor-driven cycle and requires a Class L license. If all four criteria are met, the operator of a moped may drive it with any valid driver's license of any classification.
    - A motorized pedalcycle is a motor-driven cycle with speed attainable in one mile of 30 mph or less.
    - Equipped with a motor that produces 2-brake horsepower or less.
    - If an internal combustion engine is used, displacement shall not exceed 50cc.
    - Power drive system shall not require the operator to shift gears.

    Following are some of the laws and responsibilities of moped drivers:
    - Must obey all signs, signals and traffic laws and most bicycle laws.
    - Drivers may carry a passenger only when the moped is made for two people.
    Equipment must include a passenger seat and a passenger footrest.
    - If a moped is driven at night, it must have a headlight visible from at least 500 feet, and have a red reflector on the rear visible from at least 100 to 600 feet."

    I am starting to believe that the BEST way to avoid getting hassled by the man would be to register my bike as a moped, IF I CAN. It means applying for a title (I'm calling my make a "Staton-Trek Moped" on the application and will use my frame serial number as the VIN (vehicle identification number).) We'll see if it this is a pain in the butt! In the mean-time, I probably WILL ride it to work next week sometime, weather and schedule permitting.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    Hi, Warner
    In reading your post again, it seems that the statute you quoted is trying to tell you which CLASS of driver's license you need to operate the vehicle.
    If it meets all 4 items, then any kind of driver's license is OK. Otherwise, if it doesn't meet all 4 items, then you need a Class L license (whatever that is??? I'm from Oregon...)
    The statutes you quoted don't seem to address registration, title, etc. for the bike itself. Rather, the statutes you quoted today seem to be directed at the operator's license issue.
    If you have to go through all the stuff to register, insure, license, title, etc. a stinking bicycle, I'll just ride my motorcycle.
    Frankly, this is ridiculous. It's just a way to get money from you. In Oregon, no one even LOOKS at your vehicle before registering it. They just take your money BY MAIL and give you a little sticker to put on your license plates. That is it. You just PAY MONEY. Nothing is done at their end. Again, NOTHING! They don't even check the insurance information.
    Sorry, but I'm really tired of this kind of stuff. We just line up, bend over and hand our money over to people who, IN THE END (pun intended), do NOTHING all day.

    What a rip...
    Good luck, man!
    Steve G
    Grants Pass, Oregon
  3. Warner

    Warner Member

    I agree completely. I think I'll be LUCKY if they even let me get a title for the bike, frankly. I'd title it, license it (those two things will cost about $100 I think) and even pay the $30-something a year for a sticker if I knew that it would mean I'm not going to get hassled. I'm not even convinced that my willingness to PAY will be enough though....we'll see! I'm also not sure which type plate (if ANY) they put on a moped? Totally gray clear as mud! I'll keep everyone posted on the response. In the mean time, I MAY try to submit the application for title and plates....we'll see. My mood changes on this frequently...not sure WHAT to do, really.

  4. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    My mood changes on this, too, just like you. I'm in a bad mood today so I'm crabby...
    Here's what I've done in Oregon.
    I printed a copy of the Oregon Dept. of Motor Vehicles publication "Oregon Motorized Scooter Pocket Bike Guide" and keep it on the bicycle at all times. I can grab it in a moment if I'm stopped. Here's a link FWIW:

    My plan is to show it to a cop if I'm stopped and this issue comes up. I'll tell him I'm a lawyer and I've researched this issue at length and it is simply not clear to me WHAT I'm supposed to do. Please keep in mind I AM A LAWYER and I can't figure it out!
    There is a legal maxim that says a law that is so vague that people don't know what is required of them is unenforceable as a constitutional matter for 'vagueness.' (I know what you're thinking... "My God, the Tax Code is unenforceable..." Don't even try it!)
    If the cop gives me a ticket for some technical, registration, equipment, insurance, license, etc. reason, I plan to go to court with it and make the judge read the law and tell me what in the world I was supposed to do.
    You should document everything you've done to try to understand and comply with the law. This would be very persuasive in court. For the most part, judges can tell the difference between some loser who's out to be a scofflaw and a careful guy who is trying to comply with the law but didn't get it exactly right.
    If, despite a reasonable effort to comply with the law, you are unable to do so, you should not be made to suffer for it. It really amounts to an ex post facto law that, again, is unconstitutional generally.
    The bottom line is that this is hardly worth this kind of effort. Even if you get a ticket, it's just going to be some kind of low level citation. As long as it's not a moving violation (speeding, no signaling, improper lane changes, etc.), it should not impact your car insurance rates. But, even if it does end up that way, I'm willing to take the small risk to have some harmless fun.
    If you wear a helmet, have a light, obey all the rules of the road and ride safely and sanely at all times, etc., etc., etc., any ticket is just going to be a "gotcha" deal where someone had it out for you that day.
    I don't know... Like you, I'm frustrated as all get out by this. It seems so trivial and yet, I know, some cop out there is waiting for some poor loser like me to come cycling by one day...
    I'll keep everyone posted on the doings here in Oregon.

    Best of luck to you!
    Steve G
    Grants Pass, Oregon
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  5. Warner

    Warner Member

    I feel your pain, Steve. I agree with what you wrote. I'm going to TRY to apply for a title and register this thing as a moped and do it as "legally" as possible. We'll see if it flies. I'm going to use my invoice from Staton as a bill of sale.


    PS - I'm wondering about insurance now? Geez!
  6. yardmaster

    yardmaster New Member


    Hi Warner,

    Let us know how things turn out. I wish you the best and hope you dont give up! You are a trail blazer for american freedom. It should not be a crime to want a motorized bicycle, but our mainstream society has made it that way.

    May the force be with you.

  7. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    As you suggest, the insurance issue is not that simple, either.
    Good luck on that one.
    I don't mean to be flip but it seems unlikely to me that an insurance company is going to be willing to write something for your DIY motorized bike or bike kit as if it were a motor vehicle like a car or motorcycle - or even a moped.
    If I were in the insurance business, a homebuilt or kit MB would be a BIG RED FLAG to me that this is a high risk situation. You might get an umbrella policy to protect your assets but that's not likely to comply with THE MAN's requirements for insuring a "vehicle" in your state.
    But, I could be wrong. It's just that kind of thing that demonstrates how stupid this all is. I'm guessing the law just hasn't caught up with this yet. No one really has thought about it in the Ivory Towers where laws are made.

    Here's a link to a summary of an Illinois case where a young MB rider was hit by a car and the lawyers successfully argued, among other things, that the MB was not covered by the vehicle policy of the parents of the MB rider.

    This case doesn't seem to answer the question of whether you need insurance to be legal but it shows the kind of legal mess you can get into.
    Here's a link to an Illinois lawyer's blog who seems to know about CHICAGO bicycle laws:

    Maybe an email to him would be helpful?
    Again, I'd document your efforts by keeping notes.
    Also, reading this stuff reminds me to call my insurance agent and see if my homeowner's policy covers me if I smack someone while riding the bicycle. I bet I'm NOT covered unless I get a special "rider" because I suspect they will argue it's a motor vehicle.
    Wow! what a mess!

    Steve G
    Grants Pass, Oregon
  8. Warner

    Warner Member


  9. Warner

    Warner Member

    Amazingly, I already received a response from the Secretary of State's office. Here is the response, which DOES seem to indicate that motorcycle plates (the under 150cc variety) would be required:

    "Thank you for directing your questions to the Office of the Secretary of State via the Internet.

    (625 ILCS 5/1-148.2) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1-148.2)
    Sec. 1-148.2. Motorized Pedalcycle. A motorized pedalcycle is a motor-driven cycle whose speed attainable in one mile is 30 mph or less, which is equipped with a motor that produces 2 brake horsepower or less. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement shall not exceed 50 cubic centimeter displacement and the power drive system shall not require the operator to shift gears.

    Motorized Pedalcycles (Mopeds)

    A motorized pedalcycle (moped) is a motor-driven cycle. It produces two-brake horsepower or less and has a maximum speed of 30 mph. If the moped has an internal combustion engine, the displacement shall not exceed 50 cubic centimeters, and the power drive system shall not require the driver to shift gears.

    A moped driver must have a current, valid driver's license of any classification. A person without a driver's license who wishes to operate only a moped must obtain a Class L license. The owner must have a Certificate of Title and a registration plate must be attached on the rear of the moped.

    A moped driver may not carry a passenger unless the moped is equipped with a passenger seat and passenger footrests. If the moped is to be driven at night, it must be equipped with a white light on the front that is visible for 500 ft. and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 100 to 600 ft. when in front of a vehicle's headlights. A red light visible for 500 ft. also may be used in addition to the reflector. "

  10. DougC

    DougC Guest

    I am in Illinois, too.

    First off, YOU DON'T HAVE A MOPED!!!
    What you have is "a bicycle that you put an engine on".
    Legally that is NOT the same thing!!!
    You must tell the DMV the facts, if you ever expect to get the correct answer.

    You cannot register a bicycle as a moped at all in Illinois, because Illinois will only register vehicles now that have a (standard-format 17-digit) VIN.

    Bicycles don't have VINs, and you can't make one up--the prefix has to be one assigned to a vehicle manufacturer registered with the federal Dept. of Transportation.

    Also, the bearing of a VIN indicates that the motor vehicle qualifies as some current federal classification of motor vehicle (this is the only way it can legally be applied to any vehicle) and a bicycle won't qualify in any federal classifications of motor vehicles. This is why bicycle manufacturing standards are regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, and not the Department of Transportation.

    To register a vehicle you either need an existing title, a title record (in the case of applying for a lost title) or a MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, in the case of a new vehicle). To get a title your bicycle would need a VIN (which you can't get for it) and to get an MCO it would have had to qualify into some federal motor vehicle specification (and bicycles won't qualify in any federal motor vehicle class).

    There is a provision in the motorcycle codes that says that "any vehicle which does not have a VIN shall be issued one by the state", but if you ask about this (as I did) the DMV will tell you that they will only do this for vintage and antique vehicles that qualified as motor vehicles at the time of their manufacture.


    Years ago registering bicycles may have occurred, so if you found a vintage frame that you knew had been previously registered, you might be able to apply for a lost title, and argue that it qualifies for a state-issued VIN. Other than this one possibility, registering a bicycle as a motor vehicle in Illinois can't be done.

    A motorized bicycle with an engine that falls under the moped restrictions (2 hp or <50cc or 30 mph level top speed) is still considered a bicycle, and as far as the state is concerned doesn't require that you hold any license, or maintain registration or insurance. That said, there may be local restrictions on motorized bicycles wherever you live.

    Motor vehicle insurance in IL won't cover a motorized bicycle at all, because in IL, auto insurance policies are not required to cover vehicles that are not titled or registered, and you cannot title or register a bicycle.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2008
  11. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    Hey, Warner
    Thanks for the info.
    I don't see any mention of insurance. Assuming for now that it's a moped, does it have to have insurance? Is that covered elsewhere in IL law?
    I'm still not convinced that your bike is a moped. I just don't think it fits.
    I'm guessing the law was written when mopeds were mopeds (like a Vespa) and actually had a title and lights and license plates and the whole 9 yards.
    This is just a stinking BICYCLE!!!! What in the world?!?!?
    They're making it almost impossible to comply with that moped standard. How do you get a title for a bicycle? I've never heard of that?
    Some bureaucrat's opinion is not the end of the matter. It's always easy for them to say NO and they don't ever gain by saying YES to people.
    Whoever answered your question is probably just some desk clerk and has no clue about the real issues here.
    I would not give up yet.

    Steve G.
    Grants Pass, Oregon
  12. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    Hi, all
    I posted before I saw Doug's answer.
    I think he's got it figured out.
    I'm just not buying that your bicycle is a MOPED. It's not. It's a bicycle and it happens to have a motor on it but it is not and was never a MOPED as that term is normally used and as that term was probably used when the IL law was written.
    You can't expect a bicycle and bicyclist to comply with the laws for motor vehicles.
    I'm getting more and more convinced that this is just an unregulated hole in the law and I bet it will be soon filled by your legislature.
    I'd just ride the dang thing and take my chances. If it comes up, use Doug's argument. You can't comply with the law as written so you can't be liable for violating a law you couldn't comply with. At least it's an argument.
    Again, this is freakin' ridiculous, man.
    I'm getting real sick of THE MAN!!!
    Or, as someone once jokingly told me, to be politically correct and gender neutral, I should say "THE PERSON"!

    Steve G
    Grants Pass, Oregon
  13. Warner

    Warner Member

    Doug, THANKS for responding with your answer! This is what I needed to know before I start in with a huge headache with the DMV. Do you ride an MAB in Illinois? If so, where? Have you been hassled?

    Thanks again,

  14. Warner

    Warner Member

    Yeah, I think Doug nailed it. At least that's what I'm flying with!

  15. crazyman

    crazyman New Member

    Someone needs to do a side by side video of a moped vs. a motored bike pedaling at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 mph!!! Courts would love that!
  16. DougC

    DougC Guest

    Well you wouldn't have gotten far, because when the DMV found out you wanted to title a bicycle, it would have ended right there.

    I am around St Louis.
    Have been riding for about a year now, haven't ever been stopped, and I have rode right by police on several occasions.

    If you want to email the DMV about this (which I encourage, for your own info) then you need to tell them that you have "a bicycle that you put an engine on". DO NOT say "moped", because that's not what you have: a moped is manufactured as a motor vehicle and comes with a 17-digit federal-format VIN.
  17. Warner

    Warner Member

    Thanks again are the man!

  18. Warner

    Warner Member

    Doug, you wouldn't happen to have any of the documentation from when YOU contacted the DMV, would you? I'd like to print and carry something with me when I ride.....just in case.


  19. MasterLink

    MasterLink Member

    lets ride man i got your back ...there saying its a Motorized Pedalcycles not moped carry that law in your cell to show a cop i have and never once showed it ..get out there man ride !!!!!!!!!!!! anyways come down to the lake its a blast at night iam by ohare i ride down there every night to work...i got to see how fast that setup is u have.... now the 3- 4 laws saying moped are not met anyways ..and i feel you might be rocking the boat that you dont need to be rocking ..the only cops that stop me is the cops that ask me if i can make them one state cops and the city cops ,,and i no that state boys are worst,,, then the cops you have by you .........if you search for worst you will get the worst
  20. seabillco

    seabillco Member

    Hi, Warner
    I've been riding in Oregon for 1 month now. I ride almost every day.
    I've passed at least 6 cops at this point.
    No one has stopped me.
    Last night, I was driving in a car and saw a frame mount, 2 stroke MB going the other way. I heard nothing. If I wasn't so deep into this, I would never have noticed the guy.
    My son, who also rides MBs, was driving. I asked what he thought of the MB that just went by. He said, "What MB?"
    He never even noticed it.
    There's no guarantees in life and you can get "paralysis through analysis" easily.
    I'm well aware that I may get stopped and hassled. It's worth it.
    It's so darn fun, if you haven't done it, you won't believe it.
    Just be cool, be smart be safe and have fun.
    The Man isn't always right. This is too trivial to spend any more time on...

    Best of luck!
    Steve G.
    Grants Pass, Oregon